This is a Labrador retriever from France with what appears to have the somatic black spot mutation that appears in golden and Labrador retrievrs on occasion. It is not inherited, but the cells where the black spots are located do not have the e/e mutation that causes the yellow to red coat. Instead, this somatic muation makes the cells E/e, which gets expressed as black or liver. These dogs are sometimes called mosaics.
Alternatively, this dog may not be experiencing that somatic mutation. It might actually be a chimera, which happens when two zygotes combine. This dog could be made up of two distinct fertilized eggs– one that would become a black dog and one that would become yellow.
However, it’s much more likely that it is the result of the somatic muations. Chimeras of this type have not been found in domestic dogs.
This dog looks very much like an African wild dog, which is called Lycaon pictus (but should be called Canis pictus). The title of this post comes from the African wild dog, for the coloration is so similar that one might be fooled into thinking that this is actually a Labrador retriever/African wild dog cross.
Though the pelage coloration is similar, it is caused by an entirely different genetic basis. African wild dogs inherit their “painted” coloration. If this Labrador were bred to another yellow Labrador, all of his offspring would be likely be yellow. The chances of him producing a puppy that will experience this mutation in the somatic cells are very low, and he would not be responsible for it if one did pop up. Somatic cells are not used in reproduction. Gametes are. This Labrador’s gametes are those of a normal black-skinned yellow Labrador.
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